The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

– Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

Today’s commentary
by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible

God is near to those who are hurting. One of the best places to grieve is in the presence of the Lord, because God takes our pain and turns it into something beautiful. Though you may not feel like you can make it, you become a candidate for God’s strength when you are in your weakest condition. It seems that the splendor of the Lord is displayed when praise comes out of despair—when a broken branch becomes a mighty oak—and that can only come from God’s intervention in the midst of our pain.

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